When is the last time a bank put customer needs, security and open access to all first?
David Kinitsky, Kraken Bank CEO, outlined eight reasons why consumers need a customized banking structure that modernizes the products and services we all utilize on a daily basis.
To design the blockchain-based system that will be “more secure than traditional payment processing technologies,” Michael Giorgio was brought on as Chief Operating Officer of Kraken Bank where he will spearhead a forward-thinking team.
Last September when we first announced Kraken Bank, the Wyoming legislature had provided a pioneer framework to reimagine financial services. Michael sees that framework empowering his vision to “provide an additional level of comfort and safety for our customers.”
For the better part of the past two decades, Michael has built and led teams at commercial banks including Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Laurel Road Bank, Savings Bank of Danbury, Connex Credit Union and Quorum Federal Credit Union.
Through that work, Michael discovered the limitations of the traditional financial services system. Digital assets captured his imagination and he recognized that Kraken Bank could actualize the potential of this technology.
Michael and the team are currently building out the Kraken Bank infrastructure as well as ensuring all of the necessary regulatory approvals are in place. A smooth transition for all clients and a safe experience for all customers is our first priority.
Please enjoy the following interview!
You’ve worked at community banks for nearly 20 years. What do you think works about the current system? What are some areas that need improvement? What do you think prepares you for this opportunity?
One of the biggest challenges that banks face today is the continued use of legacy technology stacks, in particular their core banking platform. It’s clunky for the staff to use, the UI lacks customization and integration with third party or custom build systems is less than ideal.
This becomes a major expense in maintenance and support just to “keep the lights on.”
I have learned that in order to be successful, carefully architecting a newer technology stack (API’s, custom configuration, open banking e.t.c.) becomes a key area of focus. The regulatory burden faced by many organizations only continues to increase. By keeping technology operating maintenance costs down allows you to remain competitive and profitable.
What attracted you to the cryptocurrency industry?
I think the inherent security and decentralized processing built into blockchain technology can potentially become more secure than traditional payment processing technologies.
Put simply, cryptocurrency is the future. Within traditional banking, I didn’t see as many opportunities to offer unique products and services to my clients. Now, I’ve stepped into a new world that is looking to bridge the gap between traditional and non-traditional financial products. It’s incredibly interesting to me. Even in recent months, you can see how relevant and mainstream cryptocurrency is becoming with major companies taking large investment positions in assets like Bitcoin.
What do you think is the simplest and quickest way to explain cryptocurrency to an acquaintance that knows little about them?
Cryptocurrency is a global form of money that can be exchanged for goods and services and has the same value wherever you are. It gives you the freedom to send and receive money peer-to-peer without government intervention. Simply put, it’s digital money without the need of a centralized authority.
Cryptocurrencies are non-sovereign and reduce settlement times from days down to minutes. They allow for cross-border transactions without the need to involve costly intermediaries for conversion or transaction. Most of all, it is auditable. When you utilize a reputable exchange, you can verify and backtrack the origins as well as destination of the money.
Give the audience your elevator pitch – why should people join Kraken and embrace crypto asset banking?
Globally, Kraken has nearly 7 million clients and has been running a reputable and secure exchange for more than 10 years. We are a company that continues to evolve and stay apprised of an ever-changing landscape to protect your hard earned assets and your confidential information. Security is our culture. Couple this with our seasoned client experience reps and you’ll find we are truly a best-in-class digital asset exchange provider.
Kraken Bank will provide a simplistic on- and off-ramp from traditional fiat to digital currency positioning us as the most well-rounded financial services provider in the marketplace. Banks are heavily regulated at both a state and federal level; the oversight and risk management framework built into our bank to comply with state/federal law will provide an additional level of comfort/safety for our customers.
What are your thoughts on the regulatory framework around cryptocurrencies?
We are pleased to work within a regulated environment; I come from traditional banking where adhering to state and federal regulations are in practice to protect our most valuable asset, our clients. In my opinion, regulation will help scale adoption especially with institutions that need that compliance framework and with people who are still on the fence about crypto. When someone wants to learn more about this new space, a strong regulatory framework projects confidence for consumers and institutions. Embracing the framework around digital assets will only help continue to propel its trajectory. To the moon!
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Want to help? Kraken and Kraken Bank are actively hiring, with new jobs posted periodically on the company’s careers page. If you don’t see a role at the bank that’s right for you today, stay tuned for more listings soon!